Well, sort of … this is all still kind of weird.
Most of our communications will be within eLC, but I wanted to share a couple of tips with you.
1. In case you forgot about this over spring break, dig into the menu on your camera and make sure you adjusted the time.
2. Try to get back to a routine. I know, I know – I sound like your parents, but the science is pretty clear on working from home. Get up, get dressed, get yourself some breakfast – the more you can normalize this time the easier it’ll be to adjust. (My wife gave me a hard time this morning about putting on a dress shirt – I just feel different when I dress for work.) (And, yes, I’ll wear a tie and my Seiko watch for class sessions, even if you don’t care. I do.)
3. Find a place to work. Your couch is oh-so-comfy, but it may not be the most conducive place to think critically. Alton Brown has crusaded against unitaskers – kitchen devices that only serve one purpose – but I’m a fan of them. Your couch, definitely NOT a unitasker. Try and set yourself up a little place to concentrate, to keep your notes and computer easily accessible. For those of you who have headed back home, this is also a way to tell the family, “HEY – Back Off! This is my little piece of university, the place you’ve spent years telling me I have to go to and then to do well at – I can’t do well at this if you’re haranguing me about the dishes.”
3a. Find a way to work with your family, they didn’t sign on for your sudden, sullen return either. Remember Taco Stand downtown? Bus your own table and be cognizant that their lives are as tumultuous as yours right now.
4. Schedule some down time and some connect time. Hopefully you’re doing this already, but setting up a video chat with some friends or classmates every other day or so can be a great way to keep connected. (And, since you’re curious, yes, I’m doing this, as well – we have a weekly session going with three colleagues and, sometime this week, we’re going to put the laptop at the end of the kitchen table and “have dinner” with another colleague and her husband.) Make a cup of coffee and FaceTime a Friend, those connections are important.
5. If you’re doing some synchronous class work (Zoom, Collaborate in eLC, Hangouts, etc.), think about the space you’ll be in. We’ve talked about lighting quality and quantity, we’ve talked about background control – are you going to look like the fellow ratting out the corporate looters, silhouetted against a giant window? Or are you going to think about the 36 Faces assignment and put a window to your side (but not visible in the frame), so you get some nice light on you? We’re the visual folks – think about the visuals.
5a. You understand the concept of an Easter egg? Go ahead and put one in the background, see who catches it.
6. Continuing on with that, think about where your camera is. You want it to be stable (one more reason to get off the couch) and at about eye level – we’re here to learn, not investigate that little bit of gingivitis that’s occurring by your upper left molar …
7. You’re a Dawg – pets are welcome to make appearances in class. (Aren’t you glad you didn’t go to Tech? I mean, would you want to bring a nest of Yellowjackets to class?)
8. Virtual office hours will start today. Same time (Monday, 3:30-4:30 and Tuesday, 12:30-1:30) but now on the ubiquitous Zoom platform.
8a. I did a Google Hangout/Meet with my family yesterday. At one point we had 20 people on the call, but Google’s platform was only showing four people at a time. It was like watching the Hollywood Squares while doing speed and dropping acid. I will say, the live closed captioning was … wild. According to Google, my 78 year old aunt and her baby brother had this exchange:
9. The Photo Cave will be here when you return. And we will all return, in some way, shape or form. But, until then, let’s remember we are a community that cares, we are a community that shares and we are a community that perseveres. Make sure you are documenting this time. (Maybe we should do an Instagram hashtag to tell our stories. Thoughts?)
Stay safe, check in on folks who need checking in on and wash your hands.